If your husband irritates you when he drinks, it can cause a rift in your relationship every time he has a drink.
You need to know how to handle this sensitive issue.
In this article, we’ll explore:
- The real reason your husband’s drinking bothers you
- How to identify an alcohol use disorder
- Important tips to approach your husband’s drinking habits effectively
- What to do to protect your mental health
Without further ado, let’s dive into this difficult topic.
Table of Contents
Why Does My Husband Annoy Me When He Drinks?
It’s important to understand that in typical situations, couples feel they can enjoy an alcoholic beverage around each other and not upset one another.
There are two strong reasons why your husband annoys you when he drinks:
- He drinks too much, or
- You have a sensitivity to it because you’ve been exposed to alcohol abuse before.
If his personality radically changes when he drinks, that is a red flag since alcohol abuse affects people’s personalities in extremes.
If he’s not what you would consider a “full-blown” alcoholic, then at the very least, if he drinks alcohol to release certain parts of his personality or feels it’s the only way he can truly relax and be happy, that signals a relationship to alcohol that is troubled in some way.
And on the other hand, if it’s you who is particularly sensitive to others drinking, ask yourself if you, your parents, an ex or other loved ones ever struggled with alcohol or substance abuse issues, triggering you when your husband drinks.
Of course, both can be true—you could have a sensitivity to drinking from past experiences, and your husband may drink too much.
But if you’re not sure his drinking is a problem, check the key signs in the next section below.
Read Next: Signs of a Disrespectful Husband
How Do I Know If My Husband Has a Drinking Problem?
It can be difficult to know if your partner’s drinking habits are problematic, so if you want to know if your husband has an alcohol addiction problem, here are the signs to look out for:
- He drinks excessively. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that drinking more than four drinks in a day or more than 14 alcoholic beverages in one week constitutes heavy drinking.
- Your husband’s personality changes radically when he drinks. He may become someone completely different, or alcohol may intensify parts of his personality. For instance, if he tends to be argumentative when sober, he’ll be more likely to pick a fight when drunk.
- He has blackouts when he drinks. He can’t remember the night before when he was drinking, conversations you had or incidents that happened.
- He seems like he’s only happy when he’s having a drink. Other times, he’s moody, down, irritable or flat.
- He’s happy to drink alone. Drinking by oneself doesn’t automatically signal an alcohol abuse problem, but excessive drinking when alone and not being able to enjoy alone time alcohol-free are signs.
- He clearly has hangovers after drinking. He may deny it, say he’s sick or that he ate something bad, but if this is a consistent occurrence, pay attention.
- His drinking is getting in the way of his responsibilities. Whether he’s missed work or he’s letting his duties at home or to his family members slide, alcohol should not keep him from maintaining his basic responsibilities.
- His drinking leads to unsafe situations. Perhaps he frequently drinks and drives, or he’s passed out from drinking while watching your children.
- He hides his drinking. If you find bottles hidden behind the washing machine or he ducks out to his car for nips, these are strong signs of an alcohol problem.
What If He’s Just Binge Drinking Sometimes?
Binge drinking is more than just having a few drinks.
It’s estimated that one in six adults in the US binge drinks, and 25% do so at least weekly.
Drinking five or more alcoholic drinks on one occasion for men and four or more drinks for women constitutes binge drinking.
And it has serious consequences.
Not only will you get annoying personality changes in a person drinking like this, but binge pattern drinking is associated with alcohol poisoning, car crashes from drunk driving, certain cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease and liver disease, to name a few issues.
Why Is My Husband Rude When He Drinks?
There are lots of reasons men may get rude as the alcohol hits their blood streams.
Releasing anger or being rude when he drinks often signals a drinking problem or potentially some mental health issues your husband is processing poorly with alcohol.
He may have been emotionally or verbally abused growing up, or he may have an anger problem that’s exacerbated with alcohol.
No matter the reason, it’s not something you should have to sit back and tolerate.
What Do You Do When You Don’t Like Your Partner Drinking?
As you probably already know, drinking problems are bad for your relationship.
They can unintentionally put you and your family in danger and cause a rift that can be difficult to fix.
So if you don’t like your partner drinking, here’s what to do.
Try to separate an alcohol addiction problem from a sensitivity
If your husband’s drinking upsets you but he doesn’t have a drinking problem per se, you may need to look at your own psychological triggers.
Facing past traumas surrounding alcohol may help ease some tension for you when your husband has a drink or two, but that’s not the end of the story.
You should also talk to your husband about your feelings, which takes us to the next step…
Tell your partner how drinking affects you
Whether your husband drinks too much or not, if you’re upset, then a compassionate and considerate spouse will listen and validate your concerns.
You can work together to think of solutions that make you both comfortable if there is no true drinking problem.
However, if your husband does have an alcohol abuse problem, voicing your concerns is a gentle way to introduce the topic.
Be careful not to scold or blame him, and keep the subject on how you are affected to avoid putting him on the defensive.
Do, however, have specific examples ready to share with him of how his behavior when drinking has been a problem.
Read Also: How to Explain to My Husband What I Need
Don’t try to give them an ultimatum about alcohol abuse
I’ve seen alcohol abuse in many relationships, and a knee-jerk response many wives have is giving an ultimatum like, “If you don’t stop drinking, I’ll pack my bags and leave.”
The problem with this is that it doesn’t stop any drinking habits.
An alcohol use disorder is a serious problem that when someone is physically addicted, they have to keep drinking a certain amount to maintain functioning and not suffer withdrawals.
A person with an alcohol problem will also convince themselves that their behavior is OK in order to continue getting access to alcohol.
If you give your husband an ultimatum that it’s you or the drink, you need to prepare yourself for your husband choosing alcohol.
Draw the line
Now it’s important to draw your boundaries if your husband’s drinking makes you uncomfortable.
Let him know you will not engage in conversations while he’s intoxicated.
If he chooses to stay out late drinking, he can’t roll into bed drunk and wake you up in the middle of the night—he can take the couch.
He needs to feel the consequences of his choices if he’s ever going to realize that it can’t continue.
Don’t enable him
Avoid enabling your husband’s drinking problem if he has one.
Don’t drink with him, buy alcohol for him or go out to bars together while expecting him not to cave to social pressures to drink.
Do not try to take care of him because of his drinking—let him stay asleep on the kitchen floor where he passed out or make his own meal to sober up.
Also, don’t get trapped into the role of mothering him by making yourself the gatekeeper of how many drinks he’s allowed to have in a sitting.
You want him to take responsibility for his himself, not babysit him.
Detach where and when you need to
Since you can’t force your husband to stop drinking or admit he has a problem if he doesn’t want to, you will need to protect yourself.
Detachment is one way you might choose to create solid boundaries when your husband’s drinking negatively affects you.
You can still love your husband and be supportive (by not being an enabler) while detaching yourself from the behavior that hurts you both.
You’re simply ensuring that you don’t get sucked into the problem while also sending a clear message that you have no desire to be part of it.
Your husband drinking can have serious consequences for your mental health, so don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
You can find a therapist to go to for solo meetings to help you learn how to draw boundaries and manage the emotional fallout from having an alcoholic spouse.
Or, you can try going to a marriage counselor to uncover and address the underlying issues behind your partner’s drinking habits.
Seek support groups
Tackling excessive alcohol consumption issues tends to require much outside support.
For you, the spouse of someone with a drinking problem, there are support groups like Al-Anon created for family members affected by someone who abuses alcohol.
Learn stress-relief techniques
Self-care becomes hugely important if you’re living with someone with an alcohol dependence problem.
Here are some techniques to add into your daily routine:
- Deep breathing: Focus on your breath and inhale slowly through your nose, then exhale through your mouth. This can help calm your mind and reduce stress.
- Meditation: Set aside a few minutes each day to practice meditation, allowing yourself to clear your mind and find inner peace.
- Exercise: Engage in physical activity, such as walking, running or practicing yoga, to release endorphins, improve mood and reduce stress.
- Hobbies: Pursue your interests and hobbies to offer a much-needed distraction from your partner’s behavior when they drink.
Marlene Davis is an experienced blogger with a focus on interpersonal relationships. Her dream is to help improve people's lives and relationships through sharing of practical knowledge and evidence-based practices.